Second award for Essex’s top teaching

  • Date

    Fri 23 Jun 17

The University of Essex has picked up a prestigious excellence in education award on the same day it received the top Gold standard in the UK’s new national teaching assessment.

Essex won the Teaching and Learning Strategy of the Year category last night at the Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards (THELMA), after achieving the top Gold standard in the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Speaking after picking up the award, Professor Aletta Norval, Pro-Vice-Chancellor Education, said: “We are delighted with this award. The University places students at the heart of what we do, and gives parity of esteem for education and research. This award recognizes the resulting excellence of our education provision.

“Getting two teaching awards in one week is an outstanding achievement and it was made possible by the engagement and commitment of our whole community. Our academic staff, professional services and our Students' Union have all helped provide a transformational education for all our students. We can all be rightly proud of these exceptional achievements!"

In 2015-16 Essex set itself an ambitious plan for transforming education and the student experience. Developments included a comprehensive curriculum review, new mentoring and personal tutoring schemes, innovative interventions and skills training to improve student progression, and new support initiatives for academics.

The THELMA judges praised Essex’s “clear educational philosophy, which was to make a demonstrable impact on student learning outcomes.”

They added: “The valuing of teaching was driven up through a combination of staff reward and recognition schemes, alongside staff engagement in the University’s Higher Education Academy-accredited continuing professional development scheme.”

The judges added that the strategy provided a blueprint to measure “distance travelled” from the start of a student’s academic career, with “impressive results” shown in the quality of teaching for students.

TEF was introduced to recognise and reward excellent learning and teaching, and ensure prospective students can make informed choices. Out of the 134 higher education institutions who took part in the review, 43 are Gold, 67 Silver and 24 Bronze.

Essex was also shortlisted in the Outstanding Employer Engagement Initiative and Workplace of the Year categories at the THELMAs.